Love at First Sight by Adele Morelli
I moved into Downtown Pittsburgh 14 years ago, and it was love at first sight. I owned a home in the North Hills but wanted to live closer to work. My house sold way faster than expected, so I started looking for rentals. I found an ad for a loft on First Avenue and thought, “People live Downtown?” As soon as I walked through the door – which, by the way, was an elevator that opened directly into the loft that was the entire floor of a building – I knew I was home. It hit me immediately – walk to work, walk to the gym, walk to the theater, walk to everything – no car needed!
I lightened my load by getting rid of two bedrooms, a game room and a garage full of stuff (including a car), and made the move Downtown. The first thing I noticed was all the extra time I had in my day because I wasn’t commuting to work -- or driving anywhere, for that matter. I thought, “I need a hobby.” So I bought a piano with the money I got for my car and took lessons at Trombino’s -- which was within walking distance, of course.
The second thing I noticed was easy access to sporting and cultural events. There were no barriers. If I thought, “I want to go see that show tonight,” then I would walk down the street, buy a ticket and see that show. If I thought, “It’s a nice day for a Pirates game,” then I would walk over the bridge, buy a ticket and watch a game. Sometimes I didn’t even have to buy a ticket -- when people know you live downtown, they tend to think of you when they have an extra ticket.
The next thing I noticed was how much more active I’d become because I was walking everywhere. I took it a step further when I got a bike and started riding to places that were too far to walk in time. I thought, “I don’t need my gym membership; being active is built into my day.” So I quit the gym and started taking advantage of all the wonderful trails that were just a bridge away.
You’re probably thinking, “Living Downtown isn’t all that; there isn’t even a grocery store.” Yeah, that’s true, but I haven’t starved to death in 14 years, so that’s not high on my wish list. What is high on my list is having a neighborhood (and it’s happening!) -- seeing people I know when I walk down the street and saying hello, having a neighbor friend call at the last minute to go see a movie at the Harris Theater, and having a waiter who knows my name and order when I walk in the door.
Downtown has improved so much over the past 14 years, and my quality of life has improved with it. That’s why love at first sight has grown into a love affair that will last a lifetime.